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Nordic Statement at the UNSC Arria Meeting on transnational activities of Terrorist Groups

I have the pleasure of addressing the Security Council today on behalf of the five Nordic countries: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Denmark.

We would like to thank Kenya and the United Arab Emirates for convening this meeting on the important topic of threats to international peace and security caused by the transnational activities of terrorist groups. 

The evolving threat to our societies posed by terrorism and violent extremism remains a very real one. Especially in conflict-affected settings, but also within largely peaceful countries, because of terrorist groups like Al-Qaida and ISIL spreading extremist ideologies and exploiting grievances across borders. 

As also pointed out by the Secretary General, the terrorist threat is increasing in Africa in particular. Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 48 per cent of deaths attributed to terrorist groups globally last year. Here, Al-Qaida, ISIL and similar groups continue to take advantage of power vacuums, inter-communal tensions and state fragilities, such as lack of essential services.

The Nordic countries remain deeply concerned about the threat from terrorist groups across Africa and beyond. While addressing the rising challenge in Africa, it is imperative that we do not lose sight of the threat of terrorism in Syria and Iraq where ISIL continues to pose a threat, as well as in Afghanistan, which must be prevented from once again becoming a safe haven for international terrorism.

We need to monitor all of these dynamics closely and uphold momentum in international cooperation and regional efforts to address this threat in a way that promotes and protects human rights, is gender-responsive, and upholds the rule of law as the foundation of our efforts.

Terrorism and violent extremism pose significant challenges and threats to humanitarian organisations. We are also conscious that some counter terrorism measures have unintended consequences that can make it difficult for humanitarian organisations to reach people in need, and to operate in line with the humanitarian principles. This must be addressed, including by effective humanitarian exemptions.

Terrorism and violent extremism do not respect national borders.

Yet, while these threats to international peace and security remain transnational, the most effective and sustainable solutions to address holistically the root causes of terrorism and violent extremism are often found locally. In addition to maintaining strong international, regional and bilateral cooperation, we should therefore always seek to engage local partners and civil society, such as community and religious leaders, schoolteachers and youth representatives.

We must similarly emphasize the need for sustained multi-stakeholder efforts in our response to the misuse of new or emerging technologies across borders for terrorist purposes, such as Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

Building and strengthening public-private partnerships should be front and centre in addressing the threat that the misuse of technologies may represent against vulnerable targets and critical infrastructure.

The Nordic countries remain fully committed to engaging constructively with all partners as we continue our joint efforts – in compliance with international law –  to rid the world of the transnational threat and scourge of terrorism and violent extremism.